The Kansas City Royals are a profoundly awful baseball team that finds creative ways to lose on most nights. Tonight was no difference: against an Arizona Diamondbacks squad with the lowest walk rate in Major League Baseball, Royals pitchers had no idea where the ball was going and managed to walk eight—8!!!!—hitters. You can’t do that and expect to win. The Royals did not, and lost 5-4 to the Diamondbacks.
Kansas City’s offense kicked off pretty well, which was nice. Edward Olivares, the second batter of the game, crushed a pitch inside and off the plate out for a solo home run to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. It was a nice hit! Vinnie Pasquantino and Salvador Perez walked, giving the Royals two on and only one out.
Unfortunately, because the Royals have about four legitimate big league caliber hitters at the moment, they couldn’t do anything with that particular threat. Fresh off the paternity list, Franmil Reyes flied out, and Michael Massey followed with a groundout.
Unfortunatelyer, Brad Keller had particular trouble with raiding the zone today, and it resulted in a very laborious starting pitching evening and a few runs. In each of the first three innings, Keller walked the leadoff batter. Two came around to score, and with another pair of Diamondbacks scoring in the process. Keller only allowed one extra base hit—to Corbin Carroll, who didn’t even come around to score—but freely putting men on base isn’t going to cut it.
Keller managed to gut through four innings, but he allowed six walks in that time and four total earned runs. Woof. Not good. Not good at all.
The Royals, to their credit, slowly chipped back at the lead the Diamondbacks built. Kansas City scored another run in the third off the back of a Pasquantino double and a Perez single, and they tacked on one more in the eighth despite Bobby Witt Jr. getting picked off at first. This time, Pasquantino singled and Perez doubled, scoring Olivares, who had walked. They finally tied it up in the eighth inning off a single by the mightily struggling Kyle Isbel, scoring the equally mightily struggling Michael Massey, who had himself singled.
But that house crumbled because of—you guessed it—free passes. Aroldis Chapman walked Christian Walker (fitting) with one out in the eighth inning. Gabriel Moreno singled to put runners at the corners. Nick Ahmed pinch-hit for Alek Thomas and generated the old fashioned, unintentional “swinging bunt.” It went towards Vinnie, who scooped the ball up and threw askew to home plate, bonking Walker on the helmet instead of getting it to Salvy. Hey, in kickball at least, that’s an out!
The Royals had one more chance to tie it up, and Vinnie at least somewhat vindicated himself by getting on base with a single. Salvy and Franmil, however, struck out swinging to end the game. Both are acting like the classic high-strikeout sluggers at the moment, except without the traditional high walk rate or the high power production, which often results in plate appearances like this.
It is April 24 and the Royals have won five games. It is also midnight. If you’re reading this, go to bed. The Royals will still be here in the morning.